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Rawah Arja shortlisted for Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

Congratulations to Rawah Arja, whose debut novel The F Team has been shortlisted for the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in the Writing for Young Adults category.

Of The F Team the judges said:

A glorious, uproariously funny debut brimming with the idioms, rhythms and realities of Australian teenagers today. The F Team is a magnificent, multi-character, underdog sports story that is ostensibly about a misfit bunch of high school boys (Muslim, Pasifika, Asian, Jewish and Whitebread ‘the Shire’) who must prevail over the rich-kid, all-white favourites in an inter-school rugby competition, but it’s so much more. It’s a love letter to Punchbowl and Western Sydney (places that are still too rare in our published books for young adults) and exuberant Arab-Australian culture. A joyous ode to the ways big rowdy families support you and keep you grounded, it also highlights the lived experience of racism, and sensitively depicts male-female and Arab-Jewish relations within Arab-Australian culture. With compassion and delicacy, Rawah Arja crafts a nuanced interrogation of masculinity which could act as a starting point to help young men speak truthfully to their emotions. Arja has created a book which is overflowing with heart and humour, which makes it a stand-out in this genre.

Winners will be announced on Monday 1 February 2021. Further information about the awards is available at the Wheeler Centre website.

Rawah Arja is a writer and teacher from Western Sydney. The F Team is her debut novel.

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